Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Webber won't miss getting smoked by 'boy' Vettel
  • Lotus struggling with 'money problems' – reports
  • Calado on track for Force India future
  • 'Any change' good for struggling Williams – Maldonado

Webber won't miss getting smoked by 'boy' Vettel
(GMM) Mark Webber, retiring from formula one at the end of the season, has admitted he will not miss his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

The Australian appeared on the BBC's highly popular British motoring program Top Gear this week, where he admitted the sport is now "very different" to when he debuted over 200 grands prix ago.

Asked about the era of heavily-degrading Pirelli tires, Webber told presenter Jeremy Clarkson: "But that's the way it is.

"We've got to learn and get on with it, but you've got to be able to push. In formula one it's about us boys being absolutely on the limit all the time. Or it should be."

Webber, who turns 37 later this month, also admitted he will not miss reigning triple consecutive world champion German Vettel, his teammate at Red Bull.

"Um — am I going to miss Seb?" he pondered. "Probably not a huge amount, no.

"I think in a competitive environment, there's always going to be a bit of needle; there's a lot of history between us as well."

That 'history' came to a head in Malaysia this year, when Vettel disobeyed a team order and passed Webber for victory.

Asked by Clarkson if he felt like punching Vettel afterwards, Webber said: "My dad always says you shouldn't hit boys, mate."

Revenge on the track is sweeter: Webber did a lap in Top Gear's famous 'reasonably priced' Suzuki Liana, and pipped Vettel's best time.

Lotus struggling with 'money problems' – reports
(GMM) Troubling signs of financial weakness are emerging from Lotus.

The authoritative German website reports that, although in the hunt for the 2013 title, the Genii-owned outfit is "struggling to survive" under EUR 120 million in debt.

For example, although Kimi Raikkonen is second only to Sebastian Vettel in the chase for the drivers' championship, development of the 2013 car is apparently all but over.

Asked also about rumors of 'money problems', leading Lotus engineer Alan Permane admitted to Auto Motor und Sport: "We have not much more in the pipeline for 2013.

"What was planned has already been developed and will be used in the corresponding race," he added.

It is a worrying sign for a team fighting for a world championship, and pushing to keep lead driver Raikkonen on the books for 2013.

Indeed, amid rumors Red Bull and Ferrari are bidding to sign the Finn for 2014, Raikkonen admitted mere days ago that he is still waiting to be paid.

"This happened last year, now again so it is not ideal," said the 33-year-old.

Lotus owner Genii announced in June that a consortium called Infinity Racing has bought 65 per cent of the Enstone based team.

But reports soon followed that the deal is not actually done, with the subsequent delay having left Lotus – and Raikkonen – waiting for the money.

"We are going to reorganize the financial process of the company," team boss Eric Boullier is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

"We are expecting a large financial investment, which is part of the team's future plans.

"There may be some delays, but it will be repaired within a few days. It is part of the discussions and we will give Kimi all the answers," said the Frenchman.

Boullier said he is hopeful the money issue will not cause Raikkonen to jump ship.

Asked how close a deal is, he insisted: "We are not very far from it.

"The package that ensures the future of the company is completed slowly, but we'll get there.

"He will get all the answers and be able to take a decision within a few weeks."

Calado on track for Force India future
(GMM) A 24-year-old Briton is on track to becoming the next rookie in formula one.

As the sport prepared to enter the August break, Force India driver Adrian Sutil admitted in Hungary that he is not sure he will stay with the Silverstone based team in 2014.

"When I'm ready, I will speak first with (team boss) Vijay (Mallya)," he was quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

German Sutil's teammate Paul di Resta has also been linked with moves elsewhere.

At the very same time, rumors were building that James Calado, a frontrunner in the feeder series GP2, is close to filling a vacancy as Force India's 2013 reserve driver.

The BBC said there is a chance the Briton will appear for the team during Friday morning sessions later this year.

And a Force India spokesman admitted there is a "good chance" the deal will be done.

After that, the next step would be succeeding either Sutil or di Resta as a 2014 race driver.

"I can't hide that we are having discussions with Force India," Calado admitted to Britain's Sky broadcaster.

"My manager Nicolas Todt is talking to them now, and it's hopefully likely that things will happen in the near future."

'Any change' good for struggling Williams – Maldonado
(GMM) Pastor Maldonado insists the arrival at Williams of Pat Symonds, and the departure of Mike Coughlan, must be good for the beleaguered British team.

2012 appeared to be a turnaround in fortunes for Williams, when Venezuelan Maldonado won the Spanish grand prix.

But the slump returned with a vengeance in 2013, and after the first half of the season only a solitary point separates Williams from the backmarkers Marussia and Caterham.

So, mid last month, Williams announced that Pat Symonds – formerly of the title-winning Benetton and Renault team until the 'crashgate' scandal – is switching from Marussia.

At the same time, Williams' technical director Coughlan 'stepped down'.

"Yeah, I think we need some change," said Maldonado.

"The way we've been working, trying to improve our performance, was not the best and for sure any change in a good way is very welcome."

Teammate Valtteri Bottas agrees that Williams needs "some new ideas and new opinions".

Maldonado bluntly told Brazil's Totalrace: "It is practically impossible for us to be worse than how we have been this year.

"Any change is welcome," he added. "If it will solve the problem, we don't know.

"What I do know is that we work hard, but the way we have been working did not work. Now we have to change something in the team."

However, he refuses to say Coughlan, the former McLaren chief designer who initially left F1 at the centre of the 'spygate' scandal, is the reason for Williams' troubles.

"We cannot speak about one person; we are 500 employees, and I include myself," said Maldonado.

"We did not do things the right way and so we did not get the results."

Most worrying, the 28-year-old driver admitted, is that Williams is baffled as to why its performance crashed so badly over the winter period.

"We don't know why, and this is one of the most serious problems we have," said Maldonado.

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